Market Extra: The Nasdaq is on pace to end its longest period from a bear-market low to an exit in nearly 30 years

The Nasdaq Composite Index, often used as a proxy for the health of technology and internet-related stocks, on Wednesday was on the verge of ending its longest bear market, by one measure, since 1991.

A finish at or above 7,431.50 for the Nasdaq COMP, +0.13%  would mark a rise of 20% from its recent low on Dec. 24 at 6,192.92 and would mark — at least by one widely used definition— an exit from bear-market territory.

The Nasdaq on Dec. 21 closed more than 20% below its all-time high set on Aug. 21, meeting the widely accepted definition of a bear market. After continuing its fall through Christmas Eve, marking its mos recent bear-market low, the index has punched higher alongside other major benchmarks.

Nasdaq in rally mode?

The Nasdaq has gained 12.1% so far in 2019, while the S&P 500 index SPX, +0.21% has gained 10%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.30% has climbed 9.5%, as of Wednesday late-morning trading action (The Dow and S&P 500 exited correction territory on Jan. 10, usually defined as a decline of at least 10% from a recent peak. The pair of indexes never fell the requisite 20% to enter bear market.)

The current bear run from its low at 35 trading days (Wednesday’s close would mark the 36th day) would be the longest such period since a 69-day stretch that ended in January 1991 (see chart below):

From entry to exit, the current bear market would be the longest bear market run since the 218 -day bear market in 2008, according to Dow Jones.

The Nasdaq’s gains have come as major tech and internet-related components, which had helped to jolt the market higher during its lengthy bull-market run, have rebounded after a slump. The so-called FAANG cohort, made up of Facebook Inc. FB, +0.24% Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +0.54% Apple Inc. AAPL, -0.01% Netflix NFLX, -0.87% and Google-parent Alphabet Inc. GOOG, +0.49% GOOGL, +0.59% are decidedly higher so far this year.

Last year’s weaker performers have so far led the way, with Netflix shares up 32.4% so far in 2019 and Facebook shares gaining 26% over the same period, producing the sharpest gains among the FAANG stocks.

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